HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
March 12, 2007, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Is God dancing on your potato chips?

Pastor Jim Beard, Delano United Methodist Church, Delano

As I write this devotion for you, it is three days till I board a plane with my wife and 40 other United Methodists for the Holy Land.

Yes, I am excited to go, but my “to do list” overfloweth before I leave. I feel like I am walking through the valley of the shadow of deadlines, but I fear no evil, only the mountain of e-mails upon my return. I know, however, that my Good Shepherd is with me; His rod (and my staff) will take care of everything while I am away.

You, too, probably face days of high stress, with too much to accomplish before you sleep. You pray to the One above for relief, but then the toilet clogs, the clean laundry gets spilled upon, and the car breaks down at the worst possible time.

Your final straw has just been broken and you let out a blood-curdling scream, “I can’t take it anymore.” And you wish God would come along with a celestial broom and just clean up your mess.

Janice had just let out that very scream, after the bag of chips she was trying to open finally let loose like a Fourth of July firecracker. This is her story:

“My husband heard my unorthodox cry for help. Within seconds, he was standing at the doorway to the kitchen, where he surveyed the damage: an opened can of soup, melting groceries, moldy baked beans, and one quivering wife standing ankle deep in potato chips.

“My husband did the most helpful thing he could think of at the moment. He took a flying leap, landing flat-footed in the pile of chips. And then, he began to stomp and dance and twirl, grinding those chips into my linoleum in the process!

“I stared. I fumed. Pretty soon, I was working to stifle a smile. Eventually, I had to laugh. And finally, I decided to join him. I, too, took a leap onto the chips. And then I danced.

“Now, I’ll be the first to admit that my husband’s response wasn’t the one I was looking for. But the truth is, it was exactly what I needed.

“I didn’t need a cleanup crew as much as I needed an attitude adjustment, and the laughter from that rather funky moment provided just that.”

So, my question for you is simply this – Has God ever stomped on your chips?

Perhaps you’ve gotten yourself revved up in an all-out frenzy, and pray to God to get you out of your mess. Instead of sending in an angel army of merry maids, God starts dancing on your potato chips!

If so, don’t lose faith because God didn’t do what you wanted; probably, God is actually answering your prayer, but in a completely different manner than you expected.

Step back and take a fresh look. God may be doing what is best for you after all. It has been said that things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

God is in the spirit business, so turn to him when you are in need of an attitude adjustment, and then, be ready for anything. Sometimes, you may have to wait weeks or months before you begin to understand how and why God answered a particular prayer the way He did.

There are even some situations that may take years to understand. Sooner or later, on this side of Heaven or beyond, all will be clear.

But in the meantime, do you trust God? Do you trust Him, even when God is dancing and stomping, instead of sweeping and mopping?

Can you embrace what He’s offering? Can you let His joy adjust your attitude?

Will you continue to sulk in despair, or will you leap onto the chips and join the dance of life?

This Lent, let us keep our eyes open for how God is responding to our prayers. God really does know what we need, and longs to answer those prayers. He can help us make the best of the way things work out.

God loves us, and we can trust Him, even when the chips are down!

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